The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

East Trinity project to open ’11

By Steve Knight/editor-in-chief

Three months after the departure of former Chancellor Leonardo de la Garza, the TCC board of trustees continued discussion Thursday of events leading to the June 2008 vote authorizing more than $203 million for the downtown East Trinity project.

The main point of concern for trustees is a May 2007 vote that extended the contract for Austin Commercial an additional 15 months and cost the college $2.6 million because of a delay in the detailed design of the project.

At that time, construction was planned on both sides of the Trinity River, which required approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. That approval was never given, partly because of administrative changes after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005 when its levee system failed, flooding the city.

After Katrina hit, the Corps of Engineers national headquarters demanded more oversight, causing more delays for approval of the project.

In June 2007, TCC purchased the RadioShack property for $238 million, further delaying construction plans on the east part of the campus.

Vice President Bobby McGee said trustees were not told they were voting to authorize additional funds.

“We ended up with something very different than what we expected,” he said. “We got a bad result, and we don’t know why.”

McGee and trustees expressed concern that construction contract amendments may not have been reviewed by legal counsel in advance of an action by the board.

The costs were never presented in a comparable format, he said.

Alfred Linley, president of Huffines Advisory Service, told trustees that since a firm decision was made to locate health occupations to the Trinity East building, interior design could be completed by mid-October.

By January 2010, a guaranteed maximum price for the project could be reported to the board.

“I am comfortable that it will not go over $203 million,” he said. “The price may go lower.”

Linley would not elaborate how significant the savings might be for the college.

The board authorized a $203 million contract last May to Gideon-Toal to complete construction at the bluff site. The building is scheduled for opening in spring 2011.

Interim Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley promised the board that future construction contract amendments would be reviewed by TCC lawyers with recommendations on how the board should proceed.

Other action

The board re-approved action on three items from the May 15 meeting, including tax increment financing agreements with the cities of Richland Hills and North Richland Hills and a deductive change order relating to the downtown campus.

The action, required by a 1969 Texas attorney general opinion that all resolutions be approved by the majority of board members, was taken because only four of seven board members were in attendance.

In other action, the contract change for Gideon-Toal relating to the interior design of the bluff campus, tabled at the August meeting, was approved.

Contract amendments with Jacobs/Carter Burgess Commissioning Services and the Lopez Garcia Group were also approved.

Search for a new chancellor

After a 90-minute closed session, trustees approved a motion authorizing TCC administration to gather information regarding search firms that would eventually be responsible for helping TCC find candidates for its next chancellor.

No details regarding the scope of a potential search were given.

The next scheduled board meeting is Oct. 22, President Louise Appleman announced.

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